The melody of Christmas carols all around in the month of December makes Christmas merrier. Don’t you feel that when you sing carols, you get that extra boost of happiness. All those la la la’s fill you up with cheer, just what you need during festive times. Christmas without carols would be candy without sugar or pizza without cheese! Let’s hear one for to get into a good mood right away:
Christmas music has been played since as early as the fourth century in Rome. In those times, the carols were more like Christmas hymns in Latin, and they were sung only in churches. Since Latin was a difficult language, people did not understand these hymns very well. It is said that by 12th century slowly people started losing interest in celebrating Christmas.
In the thirteenth century, in Italy, St. Francis of Assisi started a tradition of singing Christmas songs in the native language during Christmas plays. People could understand the songs, participate in singing and enjoy. Soon, the new carols singing tradition spread to France, Spain, Germany and other European countries. Christmas became popular again!
The word carol derives from the French word “carole” or the Latin “carula” meaning a circular dance. Can you dance to the tunes of “Rudolf the red nosed reindeer” ?
Christmas traditions might differ from place to place but Christmas carols remain an integral part of the celebrations. In Austria, Belgium and Germany, children dress up as “The Three Kings”. They carry a star on a pole and go from house to house singing religious songs and Christmas carols. These “star singers” are often rewarded with sweets or money, which is later donated to a local church or charity. Do you know these kids write “C.M.B” on houses they have visited to avoid all confusion? But why C.M.B? Could it be a reference to the three kings — Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar?
In Australia and New Zealand, where it is middle of summers in Christmas there is a tradition of singing ‘carols by candlelight’. The event that is like a concert, involves people gathering in huge numbers usually outdoors, to sing carols by candlelight.
Have you read ‘A Christmas carol’ by Charles Dickens? It is a story of an unpleasant old miser named ‘Ebenezer Scrooge’ and how he transforms into a kinder man after Ghost of Christmases visit him. The book is one of the best works by Charles Dickens and talks a lot about the old Christmas traditions of England. A bit too late this year, but you must ask Santa to get it for you next year!